This story first appeared in the February issue of the PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door each month? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!

The Preservation Resource Center is very fortunate to have a new member on our team: Nathan Lott is PRC’s new Policy and Research Director and Advocacy Coordinator. Nathan comes to us after spending three years as director of the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans, an organization that he shepherded from a mere idea to an official nonprofit.

During his tenure there, the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans championed significant reforms to the city’s Master Plan and local building codes, introduced a popular professional development series, and conducted numerous workshops and walking tours explaining the benefits of smarter water management with green infrastructure.

The connection between climate change and historic preservation is a hot topic in national forums, and here in New Orleans, we know all too well the devastation that flooding can wreak on our historic buildings and neighborhoods. Living with water and working with the city’s infrastructure programs to reduce flooding and subsidence — another problem that affects historic structures as water levels in the soil cause the ground to swell and shrink — are efforts that we as preservationists must embrace. It is a wonderful boon for PRC to have an expert in this subject as a member of our senior team.

Prior to joining the PRC, Nathan Lott was the director of the Water Collabborative of Greater New Orleans. Photo by Liz Jurey.

Nathan also is a card-carrying preservationist: Prior to his time at the Water Collaborative, Nathan graduated from the Tulane Master of Preservation Studies program. He also is on the board of the Louisiana Landmarks Society. Impressively, before moving to New Orleans, Nathan served for seven years as executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network and has professional experience in writing, editing and public relations.

Nathan’s extensive and multi-faceted experience makes him uniquely positioned to carry PRC’s advocacy efforts to the next level. Advocacy is at the core of what PRC does and who we are, and it will continue to be our organization’s charge to advocate for the preservation and restoration of historic buildings and neighborhoods in every way possible — whether at City Hall or in outreach to community groups and appeals to state and national lawmakers. But it’s a role that has largely been reactive, having to chase after issues often at a crisis point.

Nathan will grow PRC’s advocacy scope to incorporate research and policy initiatives so that we can dig in to best practices across the nation and the world, and use new data to propose policy changes that can further the preservation of our buildings and neighborhoods. The idea is to still be reactive whenever needed, but also be proactive, anticipating problems and crafting solutions before they reach a crisis points. “This is an exciting time to join the PRC team,” Nathan said. “With dynamic leadership, PRC is more committed than ever to being a resource for our community. Cultural heritage preservation is about more than saving exemplary old buildings; it’s about creating authentic places that sustain people — places that honor tradition while nurturing creativity. The team at PRC gets that. They also understand that public policy is an important tool for that work.

“Advocacy isn’t a dirty word here,” he continued. “It’s one more way PRC brings resources to our neighbors throughout New Orleans. I’m excited to work alongside my new colleagues and our many community partners to ensure that New Orleans, which pioneered local historic districts during the last century, remains at the forefront of preservation policy in the 21st century.”

And Nathan will be busy. There’s never a shortage of issues for PRC’s advocacy efforts to address. We are so grateful that he’s here, and are excited for the bright future ahead.